Are all prepared dishes fake Chinese that fall short of that exact combination of factors ? At what point is a dish not Chinese? How many factors must be absent and to what degree?
Discussions about authenticity - authentic patriots, authentic believers, authentic men, authentic women, authentic religious poems, authentic cuisines - are all fraught with similar questions about absences, presences, variations, and combinations.
A discussion about the fake and the real should also include blogs and bloggers, especially on a blog! I was rightly reminded of this by my fellow blogger lifeshighway, who commented that in the blogging world fakery abounds: "fact and fiction are blurred to the point of the fantastical." Readers can become emotionally involved with a persona who is not the real writer. And I'm sure people are hurt as well.
One of my points from yesterday's post applies here. Blogging, indeed anything interactive on the internet, has no tradition as yet. Some expectations carry over from other areas - news is news, fiction is fiction, fraud is fraud. But with interactive forms, our expectations about levels of authenticity have not had decades or longer to take shape and help shape these new genres.
The possibility for harm with the religious poem by an atheist seems negligible - a reader enjoys (or dislikes) a poem in a publication, and that's probably the end of it. Same thing with fiction and memoir. But interaction between people directly (IM, email, texting) or indirectly (blogs) opens up more opportunities for engagement and thus many kinds of harm, from minor hurt feelings to life-changing situations. Perhaps we expect certitude, when, with time, the expectation will be to expect fantasy. We might do well to presume fantasy as a provisional stance.
We make the distinction between what is fake and what is authentic all the time and about extremely serious and extremely trivial issues. It's worth thinking about.
I'm reminded of an old TV ad for video cassette tape. "Is it real or is it Memorex?"